Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's better than a brand new box of business cards?

Nothing's better than a brand new box of business cards. I just got an order of the newly re-designed StudioM cards. They're perfect little squares.

Okay, so there might be one thing I enjoy more than a brand new box of my business cards: An old recipe box full of everyone else's business cards. This imperfect, charming little tin was a discarded item in a church basement. I snatched it up right away and new exactly what I'd use it for. The original alphabetic dividers hadn't been left inside for nothing, right!? 

It goes to show that creativity can be good for more than just a design project (wink, wink). And it's not always about making something out of nothing. Sometimes it's just a matter of making something out of something else.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Get Inkd.

Inkd | The World's First Market for Original Print Design.

The brand new Inkd website launched this week! I received a e-notice in my inbox and was flabbergasted to see my design work in the featured pieces. (I'll give you one hint which is mine - Woof!)

I'm usually very wary of designing templates. I sort of categorize it with the idea of doing spec work: it's not the 'proper' way to go about designing things and in most cases, it's not what's best for the client either.

Buuuuut....when I got involved with Inkd in January, I decided to give it a shot. They are technically in the business of facilitating the creation, marketing and purchasing of design templates; but they do it a little differently. They actually care for good design. They don't accept sub-par work. They also allow each designer to have full credit and a presence on their website. Every contributer has a profile which includes their contact information. This is key. Once someone purchases a file, they have full freedom to contact the designer in order to make the piece their own. Don't get me wrong, this absolutely does not take the place of all the research and time it takes for a designer to really get to know their client and do quality work that helps them accomplish their goals and objectives. But it does give those who need design help some good options...and a long list of designers who are willing to freelance. I'm all about that. You can see some of the work I've done below...

A set for an antique store. See more here.

A set for a hardware store. See more here.

A set for a pet adoption agency. See more here.

And there will be more to come. Stay tuned....
P.S. All photos from inkd.com

Saturday, March 21, 2009

First comes love....

Yes, it's true. Wedding season is rapidly approaching. 

The evidence is the number of emails and phone calls I've received regarding wedding invitation design. I love it. Wedding invites offer the engaged couple and designer alike a copious amount of creative freedom. For once, it really is all about you.  Your printed wedding materials can be whatever you want them to be. And yes, of course, there are always those silly limitations like - eh-hem - budget, but besides that, freedom! (And part of being creative is finding ways around that stinky limitation, right?!)

A down-&-dirty tri-panel wedding invite with cheeky copy.

A full-on set of wedding goodness. Printed with metallic copper ink.
My favorite part: "Love is patient. But please respond by 8|20|2009."

There are a few things I tell people I'm doing wedding design for:

1) Start setting the tone on Day #1. Your Save-The-Date piece is the very first thing someone will see leading up to your big day. The tone isn't just set on the wedding day; it starts here. It's important to think ahead. What will your wedding colors be? How will we be able to use these design elements in the future - not only on the invitation, but at the wedding venue, in the thank you cards and beyond?

2) Make it irresistible. Your invitation obviously needs to be informative but something about it really needs to make people want to come to the event. Whether you're mysterious, funny, elegant, funky or neutral, the invite should be compelling enough that the recipient doesn't hesitate for a moment before they rip off the RSVP card, whip out a pen to check 'yes' and send it back your way. Of course we want them to check their calendar first, but you know what I mean. 

3) Be consistent. Just like with any marketing or branding campaign, consistency is essential. It's one of those things that's hard to explain but if it's not there, it's just not good. Does that make sense? If you use scrolling pink type on creme paper on one thing and on the next you use plain black type on green paper, it's confusing. And if you present a very elegant, sophisticated message and motif through your printed materials and the guests show up to a polka dance hall where the cake is made from German sausage, you have a problem.

I know my examples might be a little silly and a lot of this is simple common sense. I just encourage you to be sure you take an extra moment to plan ahead for your printed materials - as you would any other component of the wedding. It helps to make a list of every possible piece you might need down the road so it can all be designed and produced in the most time and cost effective manner. 

Below is a list of frequently requested items:
+ Save The Date
+ Invitation (including map & directions, RSVP card, etc)
+ Rehearsal Invitation (including directions)
+ Reception Invitation (if additional reception will take place in another location)
+ Wine Labels
+ Napkins
+ Directional Signs
+ Menus
+ Table Assignments
+ Table Numbers
+ Place Cards
+ Favor Tags
+ New Address Cards
+ Thank You Cards

I heart hippos.

I was having a bad day yesterday. All it took was a hippo to turn it around.

Maggie Christie, one of my beloved clients, is such a chic fashionista. She owns the most adorable boutique (pretty much of all time) in Newport, WA. It's called Shanty. (We're currently re-designing her website.) She's recently said that the hippo is the next 'it' animal. I think she's on to something. So watch out! There is going to be a wild stampede of hippo-adorned threads rushing the rag trade. (She has also dropped hints that the ostrich may be flapping shortly behind. Shhhh....)

Maggie so thoughtfully sent a care package my way (including the darling shirt pictured above) earlier this week. It landed on my front stoop mid-morning on Friday. Talk about good timing! My new hippo shirt made my day. 

I highly recommend stopping at Shanty if you're in the Eastern Washington area. All of the eclectic jewelry, fine denim, home goods and espresso will certainly  make your day. And if you see Maggie while you're there, be sure to give her a hippo-sized hug from me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mood Art

#1: Amour (Love)
#2: Je suis content (I am content)

These pieces were created while I was a student at George Fox University (notice the maiden name in the signature). Our assignment was to pick an emotion and illustrate that emotion using a variety of media. I've always enjoyed getting lost in the textures and variation between the two pieces. My parents liked the pieces so much (no surprise there - they're my parents) that they had me print them on extremely large canvas. We had it stretched and wa-la! They've got very moody walls.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mark Terry | 21st Century Alchemist

Oh, Mark. Where do I begin? I met Mark Terry on the George Fox University campus in October of 2001. My family and I had traveled to the Northwest (from the Midwest) for a weekend of house shopping and school shopping. The moment Mark dropped everything to show us around George Fox (for the next two hours!), I knew there was something special there for me.

Mark invested countless hours of quality time in me and so many of my fellow students and friends through seminars, art history and ceramics classes, advisory sessions and department meetings. Futhermore, he fluxed without hesitation from the 'Professor of Art' role that he holds at George Fox to spontaneous mentorship over a cup of coffee, lunch or tea time at his home. He has taught all of us about more than art and firing techniques. He has taught us about life, conviction, balance and loving who created you and what you have been called to create.

Fast-forward through those past 7+ years and here I am, working with Mark to produce his MFA Thesis Show at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. I was so honored to have Mark even think to approach me to help him develop a coherent graphic direction. And it's still in the works! But here's a quick preview....

Photos courtesy of Mark Terry.

The show is called Alchemy | Born of Fire.
You can read more about it on Mark's blog.

As I've researched the meaning and history of Alchemy, the descriptor Mark and I have attributed to him, "21st Century Alchemist" has rang true. He takes what is plain and ordinary and transforms it into something that is beautiful and valuable and breathtaking.

The process Mark uses to fire much of his work is called Anagama. It is an ancient wood-firing method that takes more than a thermometer and a power switch. Anagama requires passion, intuition, determination and patience. All of which are an innate part of Mark's heart.

There's been a fabulous video compiled by the school on this process + Mark.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quote | Velvet Elvis

Find out more about this book

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Craigslist | iPhone Style

Who doesn't love Craigslist

I can't tell you how many fabulous finds I've gotten via this wonderful online network. A great wool rug, an adorable bistro table, a solid wood 'teachers' desk, not to mention my first job out of college. So, as you can see, I have more than enough reasons to be passionate about it. I was approached by PheedYou, Inc. to help them with some graphics and icons for the iPhone application they were developing: Craigsearch. Which, as you may guess, was all about Craigslist! I quickly said, "I'm in!" And we started working. Meanwhile, I actually got an iPhone (thanks to my sneaky husband) which significantly helped in my 'research' (wink, wink). 

Craigsearch has been a huge hit. Go figure. Craigslist + iPhone = A dream come true.

Here are the stats:
+ Over 100,000 downloads in 3 months
+ Average of 5,000 users daily
+ Approximately 20,000 hard core users who use the app on a regular basis
+ Average daily per user session time of 17 minutes
+ Second most popular Craigslist application in the App Store rankings
(Stats courtesy of Chad Marcus of PheedYou, Inc.)

Here are the reviews:
+ "Works like a dream" - LA Mac Guy
+ "Must have" - Lerwin
+ "Exactly what I've been looking for!" - bryanb1
+ "Simple, responsive, has all the features I need with none of the frills." - Johnny_mo
(Reviews courtesy of iTunes, App Store)

And the cherry on top: it's free.

Photo courtesy of pheedyou.com

+ Search Alert: You can type in your parameters and it will tell you as soon as someone has posted something fitting them. Now that's a dream come true.

Friday, March 6, 2009

French Press | Wall Art

7x3' Collage on canvas. For French Press. March 2009.

StudioM | Featured by Soul Mates Photography

My dear friend and fabulous photographer, Melissa Tomeoni from Soul Mates Photography, interviewed me for a Spotlight piece on the Soul Mates blog. Melissa and I have worked together on several projects and I just love her (and what she does). The reasons abound and will become obvious as you browse her work...which includes an after-sesson she did for my hubby and I last fall (featured photo above & more here).

 I think that everyone has something photo-worthy going on in their life - a wedding, a baby, a new puppy...maybe just a great new dress! Call Melissa to capture those charming things. www.soulmatesphoto.com

Thursday, March 5, 2009

French Press | Menu

Click to enlarge menus.

French Press is going to give their patrons more than enough tasty options to choose from. I think I ate more while I was designing this piece than...well, than I should have, I'm sure. And none of my snacks came anywhere near the realm of goodness in which FP's offerings exist. Yum. (They'll have a website where you'll be able to purchase whole bean coffee in the future. I can't wait for that. Salem's just a tad too far from Vancouver for a daily fix.)

French Press | Opening Soon!

Click to enlarge images.

French Press is a coffee + crepe shop in Salem, Oregon. They'll be opening this coming weekend, so if you're in the area you must check it out. And if you're not in the area, you should make your way there! Yes. It's that good. I was invited to the Friends & Family night last night and had the best time taste-testing the California crepe...and then the Berry crepe...and then a latte...well, you get the idea. It was phenomenal.

I am considered a 'friend' at French Press because I've been working with them to developing all of the branding and marketing over the last six months or so. It's really been a blast. Everyone there is super knowledgeable and super fun - the perfect combo! Just like coffee & crepes. Hungry yet? Check out the menu while you're here.